Couple of days around LA before Disneyland

Discussion in 'California & the West' started by skuttle, Nov 4, 2017.

  1. skuttle

    skuttle Counting the days until our next trip! Apr. 2017

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    Hi! We are planning our first trip to DLR. Just booked our flights today for next summer. We are a family of five with three sons ages 14, 7 and 5.

    We arrive at LAX on a Friday around 10:30am. We check in at DLR the Sunday.

    There are a few things around Hollywood I want to see: the Hollywood sign, Chinese Theater, Walk of Fame. I understand this area isn't the best and this will probably take only a couple of hours. I know I can go to the observatory to see the sign, but that I can also see it from somewhere in this same area. Not sure if the observatory is worth the possible hassle. Not sure what else may be in the area that we would be interested in. Suggestions welcome!

    We want to catch a Dodgers game. Thinking of doing that Saturday.

    We also want to go to the coast to some sort of beach to see the ocean, but I have no idea what would be best. Suggestions?

    I really don't know the best way to plan all of this as far as when to do what. We won't know the times for the baseball games for a while I assume. That's why we were thinking of making that our plan for Saturday and planning nothing else.

    Transportation. Not sure what would be best. Our youngest two are still in boosters. So if we rent a car or uber I'm assuming we need to bring their boosters. Since we want to hit a few different places before heading to DLR, I'm thinking renting a car would be best. I was thinking about renting a car while we are in the LA area, then returning it to the airport and catching a DLR shuttle. Or does that make no sense? We won't need the car while we are at DLR at all.


    Thanks in advance for the suggestions!
     
  2. bcla

    bcla DIS Veteran

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    California Science Center for the Space Shuttle Endeavour. It's in Exposition Park, which also includes a rose garden, the LA Memorial Coliseum, and other stuff.

    https://californiasciencecenter.org
     
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  4. PHXscuba

    PHXscuba Mouseketeer since birth!

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    You can rent a car and return it at Disneyland. Alamo has a rental office on the west side of Disneyland.

    The Observatory would be nice but busy on the weekends. Who are we kidding, everything is busy on weekends!

    The Hollywood area isn't too far from the California Science Center mentioned above.

    Having a car would allow you to hit the beach on Sunday and then drive to Disneyland.

    You'll get varied opinions on the So Cal beaches. I'd recommend Newport or Huntington for a family.

    PHXscuba
     
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  5. skuttle

    skuttle Counting the days until our next trip! Apr. 2017

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    I forgot about the space shuttle. Thanks! My family would love that.

    Thanks for the suggestions on beaches.

    Any suggestions on where to stay in the LA area?
     
  6. AlohaNow

    AlohaNow There must be more than this provincial life.

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    For beaches for a family, agree with Newport or Huntington. I will also add in Crystal Cove State Park. Beautiful and not crowded!

    Oh my, go to the Griffith Observatory for the view of not just the Hollywood sign, but LA out to the ocean. On our last visit we happened to hit it at sunset and it was amazing! Been there a few other times too........the kids will love the Tesla Coil!
     
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  7. PHXscuba

    PHXscuba Mouseketeer since birth!

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    Based on the things you say you want to see, the general Hollywood area would probably be close/tourist-friendly. (I don't stay in hotels in LA when I am in SoCal as I have family in Orange County.)

    PHXscuba
     
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  8. BadPinkTink

    BadPinkTink DIS Veteran

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    I have been going to the LA area and Disneyland every year for the last 8 years. Based on what you plan to do I would recommend the Hollywood area.

    I havent stayed there myself but I have seen a number of people here on DIS recommend Loews Hollywood Hotel. This hotel is located ar the rear of the main shopping mall in Hollywood , Hollywood and Highland and The Chinese Theater, Walk of Fame, Madame Tussards.

    There is a photo op spot on the upper level of the shopping mall for the Hollywood sign. Depending on the room location at Loews, it would also be visable from the upper levels of the hotel.

    Then for beach, I would recommend Santa Monica. Its about a 40 minute drive, straight down Santa Monica Boulevard, through Beverly Hills. Santa Monica is a really nice beach town, with a great pedestrianised main street called 3rd Street promenade, often filled with street entertainment. The beach and famous pier are 2 blocks, 15 minutes walk from 3rd Street promenade. There is an aquarium at the pier as well as restaurants and fairground amusements and more street entertainers. Santa Monica is the end point of Route 66
     
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  9. skuttle

    skuttle Counting the days until our next trip! Apr. 2017

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    I looked at Loews but we are a family of five so we'd need a suite, which is more expensive than I would like. We are staying at DLH, so I was hoping to save a little on the two nights we'll be in the LA area.

    I've gone back and forth on this one! I've read that it's a pain to get up there, but I may have to look into it a bit more. I do think it would be fun to do.
     
  10. PHXscuba

    PHXscuba Mouseketeer since birth!

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    I was just at Griffith Observatory less than a month ago. I had heard the same and will offer you a few pieces of advice:
    1. Check if the Greek Theater at the bottom of the hill has a concert that night. If it does I'd highly suggest avoiding Griffith Observatory late afternoon/evening-- it would be a zoo.
    2. If not, go well before sunset. (The sunset view is awesome, but the Observatory and the daytime LA view are plenty to make it worth it) We got here about 3:30 on a day that had a 6:30 sunset and found parking in the top lot, which I believe has been expanded recently (so don't believe outdated info)
    3. If no parking at the top, circle down and park at the bottom near the Greek, there is a bus to the top of the hill (we didn't have to use it so no comment on it but I hear it's cheap, like 50 cents per person)

    I really didn't feel like the hill driving itself was a big deal. The only problem I had was at the bottom of the hill, once back onto Los Feliz Blvd. heading east at 7:00 p.m. on a Tuesday, we ran smack into major rush-hour street traffic getting back to the freeway.

    And the food at the Observatory was really limited and pathetic looking, IMO. Bring a picnic instead.

    PHXscuba
     
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  11. oakleycat

    oakleycat Mouseketeer

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    I agree that the Griffith Observatory at sunset is amazing, and with the new parking it's a lot easier to access. Driving up the hill is pretty easy as long as its a low traffic time (and there's nothing at the Greek as PHXscuba noted). If you're looking for great views it's the best.

    If you want to a Dodger game, check the schedule and see when they're in town during your trip and plan around that. The 2018 schedule is already up, though I don't think they have game times yet. Weekday and Saturday games are generally at 7:05 and Sunday games at 1:05.

    https://www.mlb.com/dodgers/schedule/2018-06

    The stadium is not far from Griffith Park so you could do the observatory before/after the game depending on time.

    My boys are similar ages to yours (11 and 8) and they love the Exposition Park museums, especially the Science Center and Natural History Museum. Park in the designated lots as a lot of the surrounding area is not good. They also love Universal Studios, the La Brea Tar Pits (which I personally find boring), Griffith Park (zoo, Travel Town, carousel, etc.), the beaches and Santa Monica Pier, and hiking in the Hollywood hills.

    For boosters, CA law is age 8 and 80 lbs. so they would still need them. Mine are now out of boosters, but for my youngest we have a MiFold booster for traveling/ubering. It folds up very small and is really convenient.
     
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  12. skuttle

    skuttle Counting the days until our next trip! Apr. 2017

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    Thanks! We did plan our trip around the Dodgers' schedule. We fly in on a Friday when they are at home, so planning on going to a game Saturday. Good to know the likely time.

    Our flight lands at LAX at 10:30am. I am thinking we might do Santa Monica pier. That wasn't on my list at first, but I think it should be, especially if DOdgers games ends up being at night on Saturday. How much time would you allocate there?

    I was originally thinking:
    Friday, Land at LAX 10:30am. Do Hollywood area stuff, including Science Center.
    Saturday, Dodgers.
    Sunday, Huntington Beach on way to DLR.

    But now I'm thinking:
    Friday: Santa Monica pier and maybe Hollywood depending on how long Santa Monica might take. Or maybe we should go from LAX to Hollywood and end in Santa Monica. I'm undecided.

    Saturday, Science Center area and then DOdgers that night, assuming game will be late.

    Sunday: I think we may end up skipping Huntingon Beach if we do Santa Monica pier. We just really want to see the ocean/walk on the beach. We don't necessarily need a "beach day." So I could move HOllywood or the science center stuff to this day on way to DLR.

    I'm so torn!

    Also, still trying to figure out where to stay which is stressful!
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
  13. Amw1064

    Amw1064 DIS Veteran

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    We are doing something similar. Plan on arriving on a Friday around 10am. I was thinking of doing Santa Monica pier on our way to hotel. Not sure where to stay. We have never done airbnb before and was thinking of giving it a try. We will be with another family. I wanted to be in the Hollywood/Highland area I think? I know the Loews Hollywood Hotel is there. We will head to Disneyland area on Monday. Looking for suggestions as well.
     
  14. skuttle

    skuttle Counting the days until our next trip! Apr. 2017

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    I looked at Loews but it's expensive for us since we are a family of five. We'd need a suite. I've been looking at airbnb and VRBO as well, and it seems the space for price would be hard to beat!

    I think we may try to stay somewhere around Santa Monic Friday, and then somewhere closer to Dodger stadium Saturday since we plan to go to a game that night.
     
  15. oakleycat

    oakleycat Mouseketeer

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    The Santa Monica Pier stop can be as as long or short as you want to make it - its basically just a classic carnival on the pier, with a bunch of shopping and restaurants in the surrounding area. If you're only interested in seeing the sights and walking the beach you'll probably only spend an hour or two. If you want to do the rides/games and do shopping and a meal it will be longer. I think any of your schedules will work and which will work best depends on where you end up staying. I'm no help there as I live here and only stay overnight when we have work events (almost always at the Loews Hollywood). I've also stayed at the BLVD, which is about a 10 minute walk from Hollywood and Highland, still decent, and much cheaper. If you're looking for a nice hotel cheaper, the downtown hotels are cheaper on the weekend because they cater to business travelers, though they're less convenient to the tourist areas. I've stayed at the Omni on the weekend for under $100/night.
     
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  16. skuttle

    skuttle Counting the days until our next trip! Apr. 2017

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    Thanks. Is downtown safe/okay for kids? The day we arrive, I plan to do Santa Monica and maybe Hollywood if we are up for it and have the time. We have a two hour time difference so I don't see us being out terribly late. The next day we plan to do a Dodgers game, which should be at night, so I think I may prefer to be closer to the stadium if we'll have a late night. But wasn't sure if it was safe.

    I checked out Loews, but with our family of 5, it'd be $600 a night. I'm already splurging on DLH, so was hoping the couple of nights in LA area would be cheaper than our DLR rate.
     
  17. oakleycat

    oakleycat Mouseketeer

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    I know there's a Best Western close to Dodger Stadium that might work for you. All of those areas (Downtown, Hollywood, around the stadium/Chinatown) are "safe," safe being relative as you're talking about LA. I wouldn't be walking around along late at night and always be aware of your surroundings as there are pickpockets/muggers who occasionally prey on tourists. That said, I take my kids to all of those areas regularly and have never felt unsafe.
     
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  18. oakleycat

    oakleycat Mouseketeer

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  19. skuttle

    skuttle Counting the days until our next trip! Apr. 2017

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    Thanks! Sounds similar to when we go to New Orleans!
     

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